We have a Panda sighting! I guess all is well in Red Sox Nation-—or maybe not.
Oh, and I guess that paying someone $95 million to play third base isn’t enough motivation for some players to show up for camp in shape. Because we all know that $95 million doesn’t go as far as it used to.
Just like last spring, when everyone had high expectations with the signing of Pablo “Panda” Sandoval, and then, he showed up grossly overweight, Sandoval again rolled into the Red Sox complex at least 50 pounds over what he ought to be playing at. So, instead of talking about free agent pitcher David Price, Sox fans are being treated by local media to pictures of a fat, out-of-shape player who doesn’t give a damn.
Back in 1993, I decided to pitch for a local semi-pro team. I was 31-years-old, knowing I’d be trying to get players out that were mainly 10 years younger than me. I committed to biking to work in Brunswick two days a week, and on the other three mornings, I hit the gym to lift and workout. I wasn’t being paid a dime to do this.
Granted, we live in a country where packing on the pounds is now our national pastime. Interestingly, it’s been 20 years since I pitched for Coastal Athletics in the Twilight League, and I think I’m in even better shape than I was then. I swim two mornings a week, spin Tuesday nights, and try to run two more times during the week. The only reason I’m doing it is for health and so I don’t look like an old, fat guy. Oh, I’ll probably do a couple of triathlons this summer and I also don’t want to look like a fat load in my umpire’s uniform.
It’s a shame that a team paying someone more than most of us will make in 10 lifetimes can’t hold them accountable and expect them to show up for the season in shape. Maybe more telling about the days we’re living in—the player privileged to get paid to play a boy’s game doesn’t think he has some responsibility to maximize his potential and abilities for his employer paying him and the fans that will drop good money to watch him boot balls and look pathetic at the plate.